Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Daily Grind...

I have to share this to give you an idea of what teaching English in Italy is like...Yesterday, I had a lesson with a fourteen year old in his first year of a high school specializing in languages, and this kid speaks pretty good English. We were working on the verb "to have to" and I must have said something like "Tell me some things you have to do each day." His response..."I have to wash my thing." What he meant to say was, "I have to brush my teeth," but the verb combination and the difficulty Italians have with saying the word "teeth" created this response and I swear twenty minutes later the tears were still streaming, I couldn't breathe.
I hear a different one every day because I teach kids of all ages and even have a Colonel who comes for conversation. The Colonel is interesting, because he is always asking me technical questions on grammar and despite having graduated with a degree in English Language and Literature and having received a teaching certificate to teach 5th-12th grades, I don't know the answers to his questions! I just know that's how to say it, not how to explain it. Basically, in addition to learning Italian, I'm also getting an education on the English Language Rules of Grammar..the ironies of life.

This morning I had a meeting with Jordan's support teacher and his Math teacher...love that woman! I almost passed out on the spot when she said these words to me, "You need to not help Jordan with his homework. He receives so much help at home that he's not asking questions in class or paying attention, because he knows that you will just help him at home if he doesn't understand something." Now this is a teacher who I will call PROFESSOR any day! Math is one of the subjects where he can do his homework alone because his areas of difficulty have more to do with subjects involving a large amount of vocabulary. We usually help him with the word problems, but the point she was making was far greater than just a homework issue. She was telling me to let him go and grow. According to her, Jordan was intelligent enough and at the appropriate level enough to make mistakes like the rest of the class, and she was ready to help him, help himself. Part of growing stronger and becoming independent is learning to recognize our own weaknesses and asking for help to resolve them. She believes in my son...what an amazing parent-teacher conference.
Then, on my way out of the school, I ran into the French teacher (he's like 60, bald, got yellowy teeth and dresses kind of like Mr. Rogers) who made some intense eye contact with me and said, "Oh, Bonjour Madame, I noticed that Jordan was very busy writing during the French test this morning." I smiled and said, "Oh, that's wonderful, let's hope for the best!" He smiled back at me, nodded his head and went on his way...he digs me. Let's hope so, because French is just not one of our stronger subjects...
Now, I just wanted to add this link to a beautiful video of the song
Waiting on the World to Change that Christina posted on her blog as did Mom to Toes, because I loved it as much as they did and thought I'd share it with anyone reading this blog. To deactivate the music, click the stop button on the right.

3 comments:

Val said...

Your blog is better than the daily gossip columns! which I don't have time to read. But not I'll have such a hard time letting Gage do his own thing I know! It was sooo hard to let him go to K because I still "wanted" to be the teacher. Kinda like, if you want it done right do it yourself...I just had not given anyone else the chance. Now I'm rolling thinking about you laughing at what that boy said !! you are sooo crazy!!(in a good way)

Abbie said...

HAHAHA!! oh man, that is a funny slip up! Does Jordan pick up italian in addition to english and french as well?

jodi said...

Abbie,
Jordan studies Italian like we studied English...he has Italian Anthology and Grammar...all of his subjects are in Italian except for English and French and his teachers for those subjects are Italian - not native tongue speakers because we live in Italy. Did you already go to the concert?? I read the blog you wrote about how your friends got you the tix...beautiful! I'm so glad they appreciate you, btw I got myself some new nails:)(I got the Hungarian special, though)